• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Buying My First Radio

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
32
#1
Hi all, I'm getting ready to buy my first radio. Since I really don't want to deal with an external antenna, I decided to buy a handheld. I want a radio I can grow into, and was looking at the Yaesu VX-8DR. What are your thoughts on this radio for a first time buyer. Does it really sound that bad on receive. We seem to have a lot of repeaters here in Orlando, so I'm hoping it will work out ok. I know I'll never be able to talk to the world on it, but l'm ok with that.
 

AC2OY

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Messages
2,331
Location
Belleville,New Jersey
#2
Tony what I would do is take a look at a few radios. I wanted that HT but my guy ran out and sold me my F6-A and I love it. Read all the reviews,go to or join a club and ask the members what they think. You might get two dozen opinions but at least you would have done your homework. Good luck!
 

gewecke

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Banned
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
7,440
Location
Illinois
#3
Hi all, I'm getting ready to buy my first radio. Since I really don't want to deal with an external antenna, I decided to buy a handheld. I want a radio I can grow into, and was looking at the Yaesu VX-8DR. What are your thoughts on this radio for a first time buyer. Does it really sound that bad on receive. We seem to have a lot of repeaters here in Orlando, so I'm hoping it will work out ok. I know I'll never be able to talk to the world on it, but l'm ok with that.
Tony, keep in mind your range will be very limited with just the standard antenna. Its quite simple to get a antenna outside in many cases with little effort. The vx8 is ok, but its not my first choice. 73, n9zas
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Messages
153
Location
Horn Lake, MS
#4
I'm not a fan of handheld radios unless you know for certain you are within a 5-10 miles of the primary repeater you plan to use. As stated, with a handheld and rubber duck antenna you get very limited distance. Your area may have multiple repeaters listed for the area but which are the primary ones used. Where I am there are probably 20 repeaters but only 2-3 see much use. Whichever direction you go you will see significant improvement by purchasing a simple mag mount antenna and sticking it to a cookie sheet. Another viable option would be something like the Slim Jim antenna which can be hung on a wall.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,063
#5
It pretty common to start out with a handheld. However, I think'll you'll come up against their shortcomings very quickly. Their range in a vehicle is greatly reduced. As is the ability to hear over traffic and to be seen clearly enough while in the vehicle. Having said that, a Yaesu FT-60 is a good, reliable handheld if you're just starting out.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
20
Location
Idaho
#6
If you start out with a Yaesu, be sure to also order the programming cable and use chirp or just buy the RT Systems software. They pack so much stuff in such a small package, I really dislike programming them manually.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
32
#7
Thanks everyone. My problem is my HOA won't allow an antenna, and my neighbor is a total nut who will eye an antenna immediately! Was thinking about putting something in the attic of my 2 story home, but I only have about 2.5 feet clearance in there. Right now I just listen to my Grundig 750 shortwave set. Been studying for the test, and I'm ready to take it. Just so confused about how to deal with this. Was looking at the Yaesu FT‑857D as a base unit, till I hit the antenna problem. Another issue is I'm 63 years old, and really can't be crawling around an attic. So really not sure what to do now. I really love listening to the ham's, but would really like to talk. One more thing, I'm just hoping whatever radio I get doesn't interfere with the nut next door's TV, or all bets are off!
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Messages
153
Location
Horn Lake, MS
#8
I'd suggest getting a VHF/UHF radio (handheld or mobile) and get some type of external antenna and just mount it indoors. You will greatly appreciate the extra ~$20 spent on an antenna even if its mounted inside. If you plan to work HF then you will really want some type of outdoor antenna but the good news is there are various ways to hide them as they don't look like most antennas. I started out with a long wire strung along the top of my 6' wood fence. There are also temporary antennas that can be setup and removed relatively quickly if you wanted to setup for the day.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
430
Location
Campbell County, Wyoming
#9
You may also want to check into 'stealth' antennas-either get one of the many books or just google the term. There are also commercial antennas (like the Venttenna) that are 'camouflaged' to get past (or around ) HOA rules.

Yet another option is to use an old style TV antenna. Most are some form of log periodic. For Ham use, they need to be mounted vertically rather than horizontal and with either fairly low power or modified to handle transmitting

Hams have been outwitting HOA rules for many years now (but I didn't say that :)

73.
 

gewecke

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Banned
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
7,440
Location
Illinois
#10
I agree with Wyshack, Hoa's are not usually a problem if you get creative. Do you have a flag pole outside? Maybe a dish tv antenna? These can be modded for ham use with a little effort. There's Always a way to hide a antenna. :). 73, n9zas
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
451
#11
Had a friend years ago who lived in an upstairs / downstairs brownstone and he used a manual roller inductive tuner to load up the fire escape and used that as an antenna it took him longer to earn his DXCC but accomplished it none the less, had another friend who did the same thing with a wrought iron fence outside his QTH , there are many ways to deal with HO'AS .

Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
1,275
#12
If you are in a place that doesn't allow outside antennas and want to operate 2M/440, get yourself a small portable beam! I travel often on business and always bring my ham gear along. I have had great luck using a small ELK 2M/440 portable beam INDOORS in hotels! I simply hook the beam up to a 5 foot PCV pole, and bungee it to a chair, rotating it by hand. I have been able to consistently hit repeaters 30+ miles away in all directions, and even up to 100 miles away when the bands are open! :) By the way, the beam is only 2 ft. X 2 ft., so it might actually fit in a low attic space. I have had great success with it even when I am in a hotel room on the ground floor!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
32
#13
Thanks for all the great info! My problem is really a bit unique. I have no gutters, no metal fences, no Direct TV, no flag poles, no metal outside the house of any type. My home is made of cinderblock, and wood with regular shingles. How does one get the coax out of the house by the way. My radio will be in a room on the second floor about 1.5' from a window.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Messages
153
Location
Horn Lake, MS
#14
Thanks for all the great info! My problem is really a bit unique. I have no gutters, no metal fences, no Direct TV, no flag poles, no metal outside the house of any type. My home is made of cinderblock, and wood with regular shingles. How does one get the coax out of the house by the way. My radio will be in a room on the second floor about 1.5' from a window.
One of the simplest ways is to run it out a window using Window pass through/bulkhead. You can purchase these ready made or make your own out of a piece of lumber. You can use a masonry bit to drill through the block (cable installers do this all the time), or get someone to assist with running it through an interior wall into the attic where you could come out the eve. Tree's make great antenna supports for HF/Long wire antennas if they are available. However, if your main interest is scanners, UHF, and VHF none of this is really necessary as many outdoor antennas can be mounted inside. They would work better outside but I suspect for many mounting one inside meets their expectation.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
1,275
#15
Thanks for all the great info! My problem is really a bit unique. I have no gutters, no metal fences, no Direct TV, no flag poles, no metal outside the house of any type. My home is made of cinderblock, and wood with regular shingles. How does one get the coax out of the house by the way. My radio will be in a room on the second floor about 1.5' from a window.
Well if your house is made of cinder block and wood it could be to your advantage, as those materials would be less likely to negatively effect the performance of an indoor antenna. I still think that a small beam like the ELK 2M/440 would work well for your situation, even though you would be using it indoors!
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
6
#16
I'm a previous owner of the VX-8DR and I did not like that radio whatsoever. It had terrible audio on both TX/RX, especially RX due to its weak speaker. Also the keypad was awful and hard to use. I sold it soon after I got it.

Since you live in FL, DMR (digital mobile radio) is quite popular down there, amongst other places. This might be an option for you and give the opportunity to speak to people throughout North America and the world, instead of people simply on the local repeaters. A DMR handheld, such as the Tytera MD-380/390 is a cheap entry fee into DMR and also allows you to talk on the conventional analog VHF/UHF repeaters. This way you get both options. Something to think about!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
582
#17
Hi Tony

Sounds like the attic may be your only option. Have used a VHF ground plane and a HF dipole in the attic here with OK results. Not as good as my outdoor antennas but still OK. However, according to one of your replies you say there is only 2.5' of clearance... is that correct??? Must be a very flat pitch roof.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
32
#18
Hi Tony

Sounds like the attic may be your only option. Have used a VHF ground plane and a HF dipole in the attic here with OK results. Not as good as my outdoor antennas but still OK. However, according to one of your replies you say there is only 2.5' of clearance... is that correct??? Must be a very flat pitch roof.
Actually turns out to be more like 4 feet.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
338
Location
Santa Monica, Ca.
#19
MFJ sells a window unit that fits in the window and lets the coax out. Run a loop around your roof. I bought a B tec 25 watt dual band from amazon. Great little radio can use as a scanner to.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top